A party favour toy noise maker. It looks innocent enough doesn’t it? . This little horn is powerful enough to bring tears of despair and frustration which could reduce a 5-1/2 year little boy to tears in front of his extended family.
I sat there holding Johnny as he tried to blow out and then breathe in but no sound would come out.
“It’s not working. It’s broken Mommy.”
This is when I know I have to tread carefully and build up his confidence and let him know gently what is happening. I don’t deflect or re-direct his attention. He is too smart for that. He is too stubborn for that.
I take it and blow and it makes a shrill sound. Try again sweetie but try to blow harder. After several attempts he is still not producing sounds.
Johnny looks over and sees his cousin who is a year younger then him blowing on his horn. Family members are now looking on offering words of encouragement and offering suggestions but they do not know.
“It’s not working. It’s broken Mommy.” He wants to try his little sister’s one now.
More words of support from family but there is now a lot of tension in the room as well. I know on this day the more anxious he gets that no matter how hard he tries he will not be able to make it work. I have to quickly tell everyone to listen to me as I tell him:
“It’s okay sweetie. Let’s put it away today and tomorrow we will try to do it. It may take some more tries and practice but YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO IT. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO JUST LIKE YOU DO EVERYTHING. You can blow your horn at home right? ”
I quickly prompted others to say this too and this seemed to calm him and he let me put the noise maker out of sight.
When Johnny as out of earshot I explained that inability to blow the noise maker horn is due to motor skill challenges around his mouth and jaw that effect his ability to talk clearly. I quickly pointed out that Johnny used to not be able to blow a candle out or blow bubbles but he does it easily now. He will be able to blow this soon too. Grandma had a great idea to give him the kind that when you blow the tube fills with air and rolls out like a snake so he could visually see his progress. I think that is great idea:)